According to the National Weather Service, hail storms in Texas cause up to $1 billion worth of damage to crops and property annually, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to find out that hail and wind related claims are the most common claims filed by homeowners in central Texas.
Check out the top 5 most common home insurance claims below:
1. Wind and Hail
Texas gets more hail storms than any other state. Many people file a hail claim on their homeowner insurance policy if they see that their neighbors are filing a claim for hail damage. People assume that hail damages roofs equally, but wind and hail does not cause uniform damage, just like a tornado does not strike all homes in a neighborhood equally. Also, an older roof is more prone to hail damage than a newer roof. It’s always a good idea to get an estimate from a reputable contractor before filing a claim for hail damage to your roof. Click here to learn when you should (and should not) file a hail & wind claim.
Related article: When NOT to File A Hail Damage Claim
2. Water Damage
Although you should always be cognizant of leaky or old pipes year round, water damage most often occurs in the winter when pipes freeze and burst. Most homeowner policies cover water damage that occurs inside the house.
However, if you have experienced water damage due to flooding from rising water outside your house, you are not covered by your homeowner policy. Flood insurance is a completely separate policy from that must be purchased separately from homeowner insurance. A standard homeowner insurance policy excludes flooding. This is true regardless of the insurance company insuring your home. Even if your home is not in a flood zone, you still may be at risk for flooding, especially in central Texas. A recent example is the 2015 Memorial weekend flooding that occurred in Wimberley, Texas in areas with no known flooding for 1000 years!
Flood insurance up to $250,000 is issued by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or FEMA, and the rates are the same no matter what insurance company sells you the flood policy.
3. Property Damage
According to Zillow, property damage (including vandalism and malicious mischief) is most commonly found when:
Your home is egged.
Outdoor lights or windows are broken.
Someone digs up your garden.
Your trees or bushes are cut or slashed.
Your locks are tampered with and damaged.
Your home is defaced with spray paint.
Homeowner policies cover all perils listed, however if the amount of damage is less than your deductible, you will not want to file a claim.
Related article: When NOT to File An Insurance Claim
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in 2014 there were an estimated 8,277,829 property crimes, including burglaries and theft. That’s over $14.3 billion in financial loss! Don’t forget that 10% of your personal property coverage on your renters or homeowner policy extends to off-premises coverages, which includes property stolen from your car or away from your residence. Click here to read more.
5. Fire & Lighting
Did you know that lightning does not need to directly strike your home to cause a power surge and extensive damage? That’s both impressive and frightening. In 2014, US Fire Departments responded to approx 1.3 million fires resulting in $11.6 billion in property damage (via NFPA). Here are some ways you can minimize the risk of a home fire:
- Consider installing a whole-house surge protector, which can reduce the risk of damage or a fire.
- Consider adding receptors on the roof and cables to direct a lightning strike away from your house.
- Never leave space heaters unattended.
- Check your electrical cords.
- Never leave a stove, oven, or fireplace unattended.
- Always install smoke detectors in your home and replace batteries regularly.
It’s always a good idea to have a complete inventory of all property in your home. I recommend taking a video of every room in your house and keeping important receipts and other documents in a fire box. List valuables such as jewelry and art separately on your homeowner policy, so they will be covered at the value listed on your policy in the event of theft or other loss. Watch my video blog above for tips on how to create your inventory! Give me a call if you have questions about your homeowner insurance, and I will be happy to talk to you and answer your questions.